back to article Vodafone confirms Egypt lock-down

Vodafone has confirmed it has shut down mobile services in Egypt on instructions from the government, which is trying to quell increasingly angry protests. The mobile giant said: "All mobile operators in Egypt have been instructed to suspend services in selected areas. Under Egyptian legislation, the authorities have the right …


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  1. Tom_

    Good old Vodafone

    Big on supporting corrupt regimes.

    Not so big on paying taxes.

  2. Winkypop Silver badge

    "Who needs Twitter when everyone's at the mosque."

    Communication v1.0

    Still effective, still more intelligible.

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      Not really

      They aren't all attending the same mosque, so if members of one congregation wish to communicate with members of other congregations, the only option left is the postal service, or to go and visit in person.

      That means, for example, that if the government forces attack one mosque or its congregation, they can't put out an appeal for reinforcements.

  3. James 5

    So, let me get this straight...

    ... when "Anonymous" implements a Denial of Service it warrants police action against those involved, but when a government launches a Denial of Service attack against it's citizens its ok?

    Seems to me the Egyptian government would have been better to leave the mobile network alone and employ "Mr Mudrock and his NOTW super-spook lackeys" to tap the mobiles !!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Even the Islamic countries want democracy, yet the Muslims in the UK what our democratic country to become more Islamic?

    I think they need to have a think amongst themselves are decide just what is good for the people and not just the religious fanatics.

    1. Chuunen Baka


      People in Islamic countries usually want democracy so they can vote in a theocratic dictatorship of the faithful. The trouble in Egypt has been that the government has been using repressive measures to prevent that process.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Just because some shouty types want the UK to cease being a democracy, doesn't mean that you can say "the muslims" want it.

      In general I tend to find the sentences which go along the lines of "All the X want Y" tend to be fairly far off the mark. You shouldn't confuse what you read in the papers, especially the tabloids, with what Islam is about or what muslims want.

  5. Cucumber C Face
    Black Helicopters

    In fairness to Vodafone (and Egypt)...

    Blah blah corrupt regime. Blah blah immoral company ...

    How long would it take Downing Street to shut down communication services under similar circumstances in the UK?

    I'd wager we were within a few hours of Blair making that call in the Fuel Protests of 2000 for example.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      Between you and me (and everybody else here)

      The procedures for such a thing (and sooooo much more) are in place in the UK.

      1. Alan Firminger

        And were used

        on the 7th of July 2005 .

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          re and were used...

          And are used lots of times briefly to stop communications, mobile in particular, to facilitate secure movement of people who need to be moved securely. ie: Stop people around them coordinating attacks via mobile phones.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Disciple of Thatcher.

      One good dig deserves another :)

  6. The Fuzzy Wotnot


    "Who needs Twitter when everyone's at the mosque."

    Unlike the West where we have a more fragmented society with reliance on technology, those strong social ties and networks built up over many years in Egypts religious communities, will come into play as a substitute for the disabled tech.

  7. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Meanwhile, across the world ....

    > the authorities have the right to issue such an order and we are obliged to comply with it


    > Virtually all internet access was cut off late last night.

    many, many other governments are wondering if they could get themselves some laws like that. And whether it would be best to present them to their citizens as "child safety" legislation or anti-terrorism regulations.

  8. Simon Rockman

    Google ads

    You've got to love a system that puts an advertisement for holidays in Egypt against this story.

  9. NogginTheNog

    Big up The Onion Router

    Think I might leave my Tor relay running 24-7 for a while... ;-)

    1. Ef'd

      And what good would that do?

      You realize that the infrastructure itself is down, right? No internet connection renders tor worthless.

      But hey, don't let that stop you from tooting your own horn.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stupid reactions.

    Oh very sensible, how to antagonise in one easy lesson. So let me get this straight, there are no walkie talkies in Egypt, no CB's. Frankly if my rights and life were so curtailed if I did not agree with the riots I damn well would now.

  11. Arctic fox

    Next somebody says that the "free"market is coequivalent with....

    ...........human liberty I will remind them of how BigCoporate behaves the moment that anything threatens their profits. My best wishes to the Egyptian people - God knows that between their own ruling class and Western corporations they have enough to cope with.

    1. crowley


      Not the best example for the point you're making.

      Vodafone will be losing money by removing service, rather than benefiting from the increase in use by the protesters.

      But yes, the warm regards that dictatorships and corporations have for each other is fairly well documented.

      1. Arctic fox

        @crowley: Thank you, I appreciate your point.

        Apart from anything else a response based on constructive intelligence is always welcome!

      2. Oliver P

        Not sure about that

        I'm not sure that Vodafone would have benefited financially by disregarding the dictates of the Egyptian authorities. In the short term, yes, they would have got increased use of their service by the protesters, but they would have been risking having their Egyptian operations shut down altogether. Mr. Mubarak hasn't gone yet...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Spectrum Licence?

    Ah, so the fact that all of this was probably in the licence they bought from the Egyptian government doesn't mean anything to anyone? Where if they go against the licence, they lose the licence. Go bust. Everyone who works for them there gets made redundant once they are released from jail. Every other country in the world where they operate then probably thinks.. Hmm, Vodafone ignored a legal shutdown request in Egypt, what if they do that here? Hmm, lets have that licence back! And so, Vodafone goes from one of the biggest [British] companies in the world to Administration, inside a month.

    Keep flaming.

    1. crowley

      Re: Spectrum Licence?

      License - good point from the bigger picture.

      Somewhat invalidates my last comment... cheers!

    2. Arctic fox

      Where then is the limit?

      Are you saying that if it is commercial there are no moral limits?

    3. Throatwobbler Mangrove Silver badge


      In what sense is Vodafone a British company when capital is stateless and the vast majority of their revenue comes from outside the UK?

      Because of their great emotional commitment to the UK and their unwavering financial support of its government? lolzers:

  13. Levente Szileszky

    So tell me: why are we supporting these scumbag dictatorships?

    Seriously, why?

    Once could argue that if it's a requirement then don't go there and do not install networks and if you are afraid someone else will do it then it's time to set up a new COCOM-list and put all advanced communication systems on the list.

    And don't give me The Economist-like BS hypocrisy about 'business shouldn't worry about morality, only about making money' - that's the perfect scumbag argument, nothing else especially when the same corporate scum argues that governments should deploy publicly-funded police and other authorities to protect their business interests in free, democratic countries...

    1. Pete 2 Silver badge

      Ever read The Economist?

      If you do read The Economist, you'll find that it's probably one of only two (FT being the other) newspapers[1] that is willing to give a balanced and dispassionate view of events: whether in Britain or around the world. Sure, it takes a view that money matters and that having it is nothing to be ashamed of (assuming it was obtained legitimately), but that's surely better than measuring a person's worth by the size of their chest.

      As for Egypt: To quote from "The ruling party is arrogant, nepotistic and corrupt. ... " and nothing in the piece makes any mention of business (nor Vodafone, for that matter).

      [1] They do refer to themselves as a newspaper these days.

  14. mulder

    this proves the beeb wrong

    was not the "fact" that the net has replaced the "outdated" medium wave am transmitions not the motivation to supend part of the world service?

    How would the governments been able to block reception of forreign radio in a few hours?

  15. Cunningly Linguistic

    Well so much for the mantra...

    ...the Internet sees censorship as damage and routes around it.

  16. Daniel B.

    CB and Walkie Talkies

    I suppose that Egyptian protesters will now have to turn to another tech, one that we used to use a lot before the advent of mobile phones: CB Ham Radio and Walkie Talkies.

    IIRC even 20 years ago we used these in a similar way IRC was used; chatting with random people. Some people would actually relay messages for other people, say XKC1 tries to locate YZX1, but they aren't in direct range. FOF3 is within XKC1's range, DOH8 is within FOF3's and YZX1's range ... so XKC1 would relay to FOF3, FOF3 to DOH8, DOH8 to YZX1. Geeze, that sounds like our modern Internet, doesn't it?

    I'm pretty sure that people could do this, and CBs don't depend on a centralized infrastructure...

  17. paulll

    Re "Think I might leave my Tor relay running 24-7 for a while... ;-)"

    Um, for why?

  18. Charles Smith

    SneakerNet Rules

    With Islam as the major religion in Egypt the impact of closing mobile phone and Internet services will only have a limited effect in slowing down the "underground" network. Many Egyptians regularly attend the mosques. Coordinated "telephone tree", "Fax tree" and photocopier leaflet distribution of news based around the mosques will provide a fast and difficult to suppress alternative communication network. This is pretty much what happened in Eastern German and Poland under Soviet rule.

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